Five Things That Can Take International Visitors to the USA by Surprise


Some professors will lock the classroom door once class has begun. It is best in business and academic settings to be a little on the early side rather than late. However in social settings, depending on the type of event, while promptness is appreciated it is okay to be a few minutes late and you never want to arrive early. It is fine to sit and wait in your car outside for a few minutes if you need to. You just want to give your host/hostess all the time he or she needs to be ready to receive guests at the appropriate time.

Pay for your parking ticket before you get to your car.

This is one that has thrown me off guard so I wanted to share with you that there are pay machines on the ground floor of most parking garages or in the passageways leading to the parking garages. Take your parking ticket with you so you can pay at the machine on the way back to your car. I will often write down the floor and row number where I have parked so I can find my way back.


This works well especially if I am driving a rental and forget the make and model of the car, much less the license plate number. Many times there will not be any place to pay as you exit the garage so it has to be done ahead of time. You don’t want to be ‘that guy’ that holds everyone up who is trying to exit the garage because he didn’t know he had to pay in advance.


Special thanks to Tina L. Quick for providing us with this article. Tina is the author of two extraordinary books dedicated to international students going to study in America: Survive and Thrive: The International Student’s Guide to Succeeding in the U.S. and The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition.